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Procedure Lowers 'Hunger Hormone' to Help Obese Lose Weight
Date:3/7/2013

had lost an average of 37 pounds and at six months the average weight loss was 45 pounds, the researchers said.

In addition, ghrelin levels also dropped. After a month, levels had fallen 29 percent, and at three months it had fallen by 36 percent. At six months, however, ghrelin levels were only 18 percent below where they had been before the procedure.

This pattern is one to be expected, according to Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center.

"Ghrelin is one of many hormones known to influence hunger and appetite, and in every prior attempt to change long-term weight outcomes by manipulating one hormone, we found compensatory mechanisms that kick in over time and the benefits tend to wear off," he said.

"So [the new procedure] is unlikely to prove to be an alternative to the lifestyle approaches, namely eating well and being physically active," Katz said.

Study author Kipshidze noted that the new study did not address lifestyle factors. To really test the effectiveness of the procedure, he didn't tell the patients to change their diets or exercise.

"I told them 'Do what you want. Go and eat as much as you want,'" he said. "Their appetite decreased and they simply couldn't eat. Their intake was dramatically decreased."

According to Kipshidze, the procedures went off without a hitch, and so far there have been no complications. The long-term outcomes in terms of sustained weight loss and side effects, however, are still unknown, he said.

Gastric artery chemical embolization has several advantages over current weight-loss procedures, such as gastric bypass surgery and gastric banding, Kipshidze said.

These other procedures are major operations with all the consequences of any operation, including hospital stays and long recovery times, he said. But with this new technique, "You do the procedure in the morning, and you can send the patient home the same day."

He noted that t
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